New Yorkers Alex and Dan are working on their debut album.
New Dirty Hit signees QTY are a duo from New York - Alex and Dan. The pair team up to introduce themselves, in between dog sitting duties (aka living the life).
Hey guys, what first sparked your enthusiasm for making music?
We both got sucked pretty deep into music when we were tweens and started eating up all the classics, and whatever else we could get our hands on. By the time we were teenagers and in high school it had become most of our identities and dictated how we spent all our time and who we were spending it with, we got jobs exclusively so we could afford records and guitar strings or whatever else would keep us moving in that direction. For both of us it was David Bowie that transformed us from obsessive music fans to an obsessive desire to write our own songs. I [Dan] really, really wanted to be David Bowie and it devastated me and broke my heart to come to the realisation that I was not, and never would be Bowie, or any other of my idols. I [Alex] was also obsessed with glam rock, but I used it as a tool to learn guitar and learn about types of music.
And how did you guys meet? What was your first impression of each other?
We met when we were both 17 on Houston Street, we'd both just ended our high school bands and, despite not knowing much about one another, started talking about starting a new project together. I never really thought about it but I guess our impression of each other must have been great and pretty spot on. We eventually hit up a Mr. Softee ice cream truck and split a cone and soon after that we started writing and playing together but since then there really hasn't been a day that's gone by without us at the very least texting.
What’s your dynamic like within the band?
We split the writing duties between us but we each have our strengths, I [Dan] focus more on the lyrics and Alex focuses more on the musical aspect and then it all comes together pretty quick. The two of us have been at it for a while but it still feels like magic or something every time we pull a song together. Live we're a four-piece with Alex on lead guitar and me on rhythm with Peter Baumann playing bass and Alan Yuch on drums. Everyone holds their own.
How did you hook up with Dirty Hit?
We'd just done a couple demos after our last project had kind of dissolved, our good friend Emily Hope, who was living in my [Dan] closet at the time sent the demos over to Jamie Oborne who got in touch with us pretty soon after about us joining their ranks. It was a pretty substantial turning point in our lives, for starters I no longer sublet out my closet in order to make rent. And I [Alex] no longer have to live in a closet... I have an actual room now.
You’ve been recording with Bernard Butler, too? How did that come about, were you Suede fans beforehand?
After our initial demos, and then a bunch more demos, Jamie and the dream team over at Dirty Hit were on a mission to find the perfect match for us to record our album with and Bernard is a literal dream come true. We were aware of Suede and that first album that Bernard plays on always came up when I'd be constantly searching for new glamIsh music to fill the never ending void In my soul but we weren't mega fans or anything. Now we're big Bernard fans, the more time we'd spend with him and the more we spoke and played and worked together the more we'd fall in love.
I [Dan] had a really special moment when we were out in London recording Rodeo and World Breaker with him where I was sitting on the couch leaning back watching Alex and Bernard play off of each other using his amazing guitars. I think watching Bernard who is a fucking inspiration on guitar (among other things) and Alex just naturally interacting will remain one of my favourite memories for the rest of my life.
What’s it like working with him in the studio?
We loved working in the studio with Bernard. We would basically play him all of the songs in the beginning, and then we would unanimously decide which ones we were going to record as a full band. So we would do the drums and bass (which Bernard ended up playing) first and then do guitars and vocals, and then more guitars. I got to spend so much time with Bernard's amazing and historical guitar collection. I had never played guitars that nice before. A few of the guitars felt magical, it was definitely one of the best times in my entire life.
This most recent trip we took out to London to record our full length was truly one of the happiest times of my life. Bernard really understood us as musicians and songwriters and it was amazing that we were able to work together and collaborate so well. It all went so smoothly.
What can you tell us about your debut single ‘Rodeo’ / ‘World Breaker’? What inspired it?
I [Dan] wrote the lyrics to ‘Rodeo’ as a kind of a love letter to Alex. I write a lot in my notebooks but rarely do I often set out to write something like a "love song" or anything kind of stagnant or singular like that. I like to write stories and situational things that are true to both me as an individual and us as a team. It's often not until after the song is written that I realise they're about Alex in some way or another, I think in order for the songs to be emotionally honest they kind of have to be about myself in some way or another and for that to remain true they'll inevitably involve Alex since she's such a huge part of all aspects of my life. World Breaker falls into the latter where we were writing something more situational. Dan had written the verse lyrics out, and we were sitting in his apartment when the chorus part came about; we were just reminiscing about different locations that we had experienced together.
What are your favourite topics to write about?
I [Dan] just write about the world I inhabit, sometimes I get into specifics like referencing the chair at my desk I often fall asleep in or my old friend David who Is a person I feel I can share all my more crass and less socially acceptable aspects of my life with. But as I said above its really just about being honest and conveying that as best I can. I just write about myself and Alex and what I and we get into with our spare time.
Do you have any other releases in the works? What does 2017 look like for you?
We've got our full length that we just finished recording, we're talking now about the next few 7"s and what the A and B sides will be and thinking about the track listening for the album that those 7"s will lead into.
2017 is going to be a year of growth and hard work for us. A lot of touring ideally up to and then around and after our various releases and the eventual debut QTY album.
Give all this a try
Their first full-length is coming this May.
He's on his way to the top.
The follow-up to 2015’s ‘Drive North’ is out now.
There's also Indoor Pets, Stella Donnelly, Self Esteem, The 1975 and more.
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